Tom Cannavan's   

Visitors' wines of 2009 part II

This is part II of this feature. There is another link to Part I at the bottom of the page.

selection below added 19/01/2010

Regan McCaffery, New Zealand

Red: Penfolds (Australia) Grange 2004
White: Domaine des Comtes Lafon (France) Mersault Perrieres 2006
Budget red: Craggy Range (NZ) Block 14 Gimblet Gravels Syrah 2007
Budget white: Nicholas Potel (France) Bourgogne Blanc 'Cuvee Gerard Potel' 2006
Rosé: Moet & Chandon (France) Cuveé Dom Perignon Rosé 1995
Sweet: Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey (France) Sauternes 1949
Sparkling: Bollinger (France) Veilles Vignes Francais Blanc de Noir 1985
Fortified: Cave d'Rasteau (France) Vin Doux Naturel Signature 2004
Thing: Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration in Queenstown
Comment: An interesting year with lots of great wines tried. The Red pick was hard, I almost gave it to J.F Mugnier's Musigny 2001 or Chateau Margaux 2006 (And I did consider the Pyramid Valley Angel Flower Pinot Noir 2007 for it's piercing expression of terroir), but in the end I picked the Grange as it really is one of the greatest young red wines I have ever tried. Right up there with the quality of 1st Growth Bordeaux from a top vintage. The Sparkling was also difficult as I drink a lot of good champagne. Other possibilities were Krug Clos d'Ambonnay 1995 or Dom Perignon 1975 (Orignial Disgorgment), but in the end I had to go with the '85 VVF as it was just an awesomely complex champagne that lived up to every expectation I had (lucky considering it was also the most expensive bottle I've ever brought..). I'm probably forgetting a whole lot of other great wines that I'll remember as soon as I post but everything on this list was very memorable.
TOM: Mixed emotions for me here! Last week I was supposed to be at a launch dinner for the 1996 Clos d'Ambonnay with Olivier Krug, but the snow that swept into London meant I could not get there. On the other hand, I was guest and speaker at the Central Otago Pinot Celebration a couple of years ago and had an absolutely fantastic time and great memories of it - thanks for jogging those Regan.

Andy Crawford, Hong Kong

Red: Mascarello (Italy) Barolo 1958
White: Donnhoff (Germany) Oberhauser Brucke Spatlese 2004
Budget red: Jean Foillard (France) Morgon Cote du Py 2007
Budget white: Coudoulet de Beaucastel (France) Cotes de Rhone 2006
Rosé: De Bortoli (Australia) Pinot Rose 2008
Sweet: Chateau du Fesles (France) Bonnezeaux 2003
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) 1999 Champagne
Fortified: none spring to mind, should drink more!
Dud: Wines above 14% alcohol
Thing: Mad Men
Comment: Looking through this list, it's quite international and representative of Hong Kong as a wine hub. The Mascarello had transformed into the world's most complex Rose by looking at it. All the classic Barolo descriptors were there, crystallized into what seemed like perfection at the time. The Donnhoff with Yung Kee's Roast Goose was the wine and food match of the year for me. Don't tell anyone about the Foillard wines, superb. Wines above 14%, I'm finding hard to match to food and I find it hard to wake up in the morning also. Just about every red wine producing nation is guilty. Give me wines that sit in harmony with food and not try to compete. I got hooked on the US television series, Mad Men. Very pleasant on the eye with a great storyline. I'm glad there's not more TV like it as I would want to watch it if there was.
TOM: Very fine choices and, yes, all moderate in alcohol from what I can see. There is a whole world of stuff out there at 13% or lower, so I guess more and more people will, like Andy, be actively seeking them out - or at least avoiding the 15% blockbusters...

Ian Ball, UK

Red: Paul Hobbs (USA/Carneros) Hyde Vineyard Cab Sauv 1997
White: Leeuwin (OZ) Art series Chardonnay 1998
Budget red: Dom Caubin (France/ Burgundy) Robardelles Volnay 1er Cru 2002
Budget white: Hamilton Russell (S Africa) Chardonnay 1992
Rosé: Vilmart (France) Rubis 2002
Sweet: no outstanding wines this year
Sparkling: Vilmart (France) Cuvee Creation 1999
Fortified: Sainsbury's PX (Spain) for cooking!
Dud: TCA/ corks
Thing: Support from friends and family 2009 into 2010
Comment: I suppose I should give Strakers a mention because I have had some excellent wines from them this year at good prices. Off-lines as ever have been excellent fun. All the wines above are from memory until September 2009: enforced tee-total after that. Drunk loads of Riesling but as much as I love them, I can't get excited like I do with Chardonnay: 2 great New World examples above. lovely Volnay (why can't all Burgundy's bring a smile to my face like they do?). Vilmart great at the upper levels. Drunk loads of Italian wines and perhaps they should have more of a mention but they have become my 'everyday drinking' now.
TOM: Some nice choices here, especially as I met Paul Hobbs not too long ago and tasted through all his Californian and Argentine wines - what a nice guy - and then just before Christmas visited Leeuwin and had a wonderful lunch and tasting with Denis and Patricia Horgan, including that superb Art Series Chardonnay.

David Thomas, UK

Red: Chatea Rayas (Rhone) 1978
White: Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche (Burgundy) 1995
Budget red: Riva Leone Barbera (Italy) 2007
Budget white: Sitios de Bodega Con Class Verdejo (Spain) 2008
Rosé: Caviste Rose (France) 2008
Sweet: Domaine Huet Haut Lieu Moelleux (France) 1924
Sparkling: Bollinger RD 1964 en magnum
Fortified: Taylors 1948
Dud: Vega Sicilia (Spain) 1955
Thing: Becoming a Chevalier..
Comment: Burgundy & Sherry in 2010 for me.....also think that a trip to Oregon & Washington State is in order.... Had a great year, drinking some amazing wines and my enjoyment for the product just keeps growing - love reading the notes on the Forum..thanks to all
TOM: Very nice classic list - but the second vote for an old Vega-Sicilia as 'dud'. Next year I think I must add a small field asking people to explain their choice of 'dud' - would be good to know if this was a rogue corked bottle for example, or just a poor wine...

Jan-Tore Egge, Norway

Red: Giacomo Conterno (Italy) Barolo Riserva 1958
White: Matrot (France) Meursault Blagny 1996
Budget red: Murgo (Italy) Etna Rosso 2007
Budget white: Reichsrat von Buhl (Germany) Riesling Trocken 2008
Rosé: Proprietà Sperino (Italy) Rosa del Rosa 2008
Sweet: Emirch-Schönleber (Germany) Monzinger Halenberg Eiswein 1999
Sparkling: Agrapart (France) l'Avizoise 1996
Fortified: Niepoort (Portugal) 20YO Tawny
Dud: Deiss (France) Riesling Altenberg de Bergheim VT 1997
Thing: Freisa, Pelaverga, Erbaluce et al, Piemonte's less known grape varieties
Comment: I guess Bonneau du Martray's Corton-Charlemagne 2002 is a greater wine than the Meursault Blagny, but the latter is drinking beautifully now and is really singing - provided it's decanted before drinking. The CC will be a great wine. Also, there is an impressive range of German dry Rieslings being produced at the moment. As far as sweet wines are concerned, the choice depends rather a lot on what you remember when compiling lists like this. The Deiss wine seemed OTH already, and it shouldn't have been. Bad cork or bad wine - who knows?
TOM: I recommended a lovely moscato/freisa blend just before Christmas - but I think it was the first time I'd come across the Freisa grape. Nice to see a 20-year-old tawny there too - arfuably my favourite style of all Ports, including vintage and even older tawnies.

Olaf Rüdiger, Spain/Germany

Red: Viña Real (Spain) Rioja, Gran Reserva 1962
White: JL Chave (France) Hermitage Blanc 1996
Budget red: Dominique Piron (France), Morgon Cote du Py 2005
Budget white: François Pinon (France), Vouvray Trois Argiles 2007
Rosé: Domaine Tempier (France), Bandol Rosé, 2007
Sweet: Joh. Jos. Prüm (Germany), Mosel Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 1979
Sparkling: Jerome Prevost (France), La Closerie Les Beguines
Fortified: Equipo Navazos (Spain), La bota de Oloroso n14
Thing: Moving from Spain to Germany for the next years
Comment: Visiting Mosel and Nahe has been my wine experience of the year. Nice landscapes, wines and people on those wine regions.
TOM: Well, the change in climate from Spain to Germany could be a bit of a shock Olaf - but then with your name I am guessing you might have more northern origins :-) Plenty of votes for Chave again this year, who must still be the leader of the Rhöne pack amongst visitors.

Mark Robertson, France

Red: J L Chave (France) Hermitage 1997
White: Didier Dagueneau (France) Cuvee Silex Pouilly Fume 2000
Budget red: Domaine du Cray (France)Touraine Rouge (NV)
Budget white: Domaine de la Grange (France) Les Buissonets AOC Touraine 2008
Sweet: Chateau Pierre-Bise (France) L'Anclaie Coteaux du Layon Beaulieu 2005
Sparkling: Domaine de la Taille aux Loups (France) Triple Zero (NV)
Dud: Any number of Aussie Shiraz from the mid 1990's
Thing: Picking my drumsticks up again (first gig in 12 years)
Comment: The Chave was the best of a number of 90's Hermitage enjoyed this year. Cuvee Silex simply the best white wine I've had in about 10 years (RIP Didier). The Domaine du Cray is difficult to resist at under €4 a bottle, the AOC Touraine is a Sauvignon/Chardonnay mix that's a firm favourite for summer drinking. The excellent Coteaux du Layon was courtesy of Jim Budd, who also introduced us to the Triple Zero. Major disappointment was a number of bottles of Aussie Shiraz (Dead Arm 1996 & 1997, Stonewell Shiraz 1993 and 1995, Jasper Hills 1995 & 1997) over concentrated, over oaked and nigh on impossible to drink by themselves or with food.
TOM: Chave again, and Danueneau again from Mark (who I know is based in, and makes wine in, the Loire), so keeping up the strike-rate for that pair. Well done in getting back into the music too - something a few old rockers on wine-pages seem to have been doing recently :-)

Don Reid, UK

Red: Felton Road (New Zealand) Block 5 Pinot Noir 2001
White: Ramonet (France) Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet 1988
Budget red: Celler De Capcanes (Spain) Mas Collet 2005
Budget white: Mulderbosch (South Africa) Chenin Blanc 2007
Rosé: Ch. de Sours (France) Merlot based 2008
Sweet: Ch. Rieussec (France) Sauternes 2003
Sparkling: Krug (France) 1982
Dud: My migraine at the Sam Goth USA Pinot lunch in August. :-(
Thing: Tuesday, October 20th.
Comment: A repeat of last year for my Red WOTY, our last bottle so all change for 12 months time. Quite possibly I'll never drink a more satisfying and intense White wine than this, provided by Paul Day at David Wainwright's excellent 40th birthday lunch, all crisply roasted Chicken skin with buttery Thyme and Sage, truly outstanding. The Mas Collet came from a clearance line in Waitrose at 2.29. The Mulderbosch, we love all Mulderbosch Whites and at less than 9 this one gets my vote this year. The Krug and my 'Thing' of the year were a magical combination. My Dud, man I was looking forward to that lunch. As a cold sweat, combined with a restaurant which seemed to be pitching about like a trawler in a force 10, enveloped me I had to call it quits after about 30 minutes and head home. Finally I can't let this opportunity pass without saying "Thanks" to Tom Cannavan for his deft stewardship of the delightful UK Wine Forum and for all of the fun, knowledge, new friends and great gales of laughter that being involved there has brought me this year. Bravo.
TOM: Many thanks for the kind words Don, and the list. Cellers de Capcanes are a favourite of mine too - and it reminds me that I haveen't seen their wines around so much recently which is a great pity. Mulderbosch too I agree on: fab Chenins and Sauvignons.

selection below added 13/01/2010

Simon McCulloch, UK

Red: Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez Ribera del Duero Pesquera Crianza 1985
White: Rolly Gassmann Riesling Alsace 2004
Budget red: Chateau Sainte Eulalie 'Cuvee Cantilene' Minervois La Liviniere 2006
Budget white: Torres Vina Sol Blanco Penedes 2008
Rosé: Domaine Tempier Rose Bandol 2007
Sweet: Chateau De Malle Sauternes 1998
Sparkling: Vilmart Grand Cellier Champagne NV
Fortified: Niepoort LBV Port 1996
Dud: Paritua Pinot Noir Central Otago 2007
Thing: Inauguration of President Barack Obama
Comment: Bought too much in 2009, drank too little. Hope to reverse that in 2010. Also looking forward to my first offline and my first EP deliveries this year, and maybe a special event to celebrate too! All the best to everyone on wine-pages in 2010.
TOM: Fine, moderately priced choices throughout Simon's list. I last taste the '85 Pesquera in 1998 and wrote "Deep, solid, browning colour. Good, cedary, savoury nose. Very mellow and inviting. Amazingly sweet blackcurrant fruit on the palate. A big mouthful of velvety wine with generous acidity, plenty of classy oak and a raft of supportive tannins. Good for a few years." 12 years on, seems I underestimated its longevity a bit!

David Bennett, UK

Red: Ch. Margaux 1989. Simply stunning. A priviledge to taste.
White: Guillot Broux Macon Cruzille "les Perrieres" 06
Budget red: Nebbiolo D'alba Poderi Colla 2006
Budget white: Macon St Gengoux 07
Rosé: Nil by mouth
Sweet: too many to count!
Sparkling: Guy Chaumont Brut (zero dosage) Rosey (Cote Chalonnais)
Fortified: Hine 1969. Etherial.
Dud: Poxed posh Burgundy - 6 Chassagnes 1996...Grrrrrrr
Thing: Natural wine and winemaking. It rocks.
Comment: Pousse D'Or 96 1er cru Caillerts and a Pommard 1996 Epenots from the Count and a Chave 82, and 83 came close to being the wines of the year. poxed Burgs have got my goat and are so unreliable now that I have stopped even buying chablis(my first love)at grand cru level. Red Burgs and pinot remain the love and there are so many good exapmples. Burg is not really a minefield, one just has to read, learn and research, taking advice wherever possible. Rose... why why why are they soo popular? Don't understand. Does not compute etc etc. Still, it keeps the great unwashed away from the decent stuff so that's ok!!! At least 4x a month a sweetie arrives which knocks my socks off. It's all the old Baumards and other luscious loire Chenins that get brought to the Nottinghamm wine circle that do it! Having sampled lots of natural wine recently it really makes a difference. a revelatory loire Gamay (Mattieu Coste) and a Bojo Moulin a Vent have made great impressions. I wonder how it all ages? Only one way to find out!
TOM: David's comment that the 'premox' problem has stopped him risking buying expensive white Burgundy is exactly the potential problem I talled about here a few days ago in the face of the onslaught of votes for oxidised white Burg as 'dud' of the year.

Richard Greenwell, UK

Red: Marques de Vargas Hacienda Pradolagar Reserva 2001
White: Espirit de Chevalier 2005
Budget red: Les Coteaux de Neffies Neffiez Baltazar 2004 Coteaux du Languedoc
Budget white: Olivier Merlin Macon la Roche Vineuse Vielles Vignes 2007
Sparkling: Vilmart Grand Cellier
Fortified: Domaine Pietri-Geraud Cuvée Méditerranée 2003 Banyuls
Dud: Yellowtail Shiraz
Thing: Wine-pages UK Wine Forum
Comment: Lots of candidates for red wine of the year, very little that's wowed me in the way of whites; I almost left the category blank until I remembered how much I'd enjoyed the Espirit de Chevalier. In the other categories, Vilmart defeated Krug NV. I wouldn't argue that Vilmart is a better wine than the Krug, but it delivered way beyond expectation wheras the Krug, excellent though it was, did not "outperform" in quite the same way. I've had any number of wines that could have taken my vote for budget red and white; Hidalgo's Pastrada Manzanilla Pasado in particular can consider itself unlucky - Eventually I decided that putting a fortified in as best budget white might be a bit too cheeky. It is a distant second in the fortified category however, behind the stunning Banyuls. I didn't expect great things of my dud, but since the son of a friend of my wife's had just bought a vinyard that supplies some of the grapes, was cajoled into trying a bottle. I couldn't drink it. My wife accused me of being a snob, seized my glass, tasted it and poured it down the sink. I'm still absolutely not certain whether it was faulty or really meant to taste like that. Finally, my thing is one of the best wine discoveries I've made - a great source of knowledge, characters, helpfulness, random but interesting threads, all anyone could wish for if only they knew to wish for it!
TOM: Nice to see a Bordeaux scoop the top white prize, and another gong for Pietri-Geraud in Bayuls - lovely people. Can't help agreeing with the 'dud' either - far too sweet and sickly.

Douglas Murray, UK

Red: Brunello di Montalcini (Italy) Loaker Corte Pavone 2003
White: Sonoma - Cutrer Vineyards (USA) Chardonnay 2006
Budget red: Any Casillero del Diablo Red
Budget white: Yalumba (Australia) Eden Valley Viognier 2008
Sweet: Burg-Layer Schlosberg (Nahe) Riesling Beerenauslese 1999
Sparkling: Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill 1993
Fortified: Henriques & Henriques (Madeira) 10 Year Old Malmsey
Thing: Baby sitting for grandchildren(7)
Comment: Two other reds which I really liked were Campillo Gran Reserva 1995 and Wynns Coonawarra John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 (I did not realise that Australian cabernets aged so well). Two other Budget reds which came into this category through discounts at Oddbins were Colome Estate Malbec, Calchaqui Valley 2007 and Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Barossa Shiraz 2008. I tasted several excellent sweet wines and another was Siefried Nelson Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling Ice Wine 2008.
TOM: Douglas makes a good point that Casillero del Diablo (one of Concha y Toro's labels) are remarkably consistent and good value. Still a model wine brand. Pol Roger is also picking up lots of votes for various cuvées and vintages - definitely a wine-pages visitor favourite.

Antony Moss, UK

Red: Wolf Blass (Australia) Black Label Cabernet-Shiraz 1998
White: Guigal (France) Condrieu 'La Doriane' 2007
Budget red: Villa Maria (NZ) Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2008
Budget white: Kendermann Riesling 'Shieffer' (2007 I think)
Sweet: Feiler Artinger (Austria) Ruster Ausbruch (Welschriesling?) Essenz 1998
Sparkling: Salon (France) Champagne 1997
Fortified: Sainsbury's Taste the Difference 12yo Amontillado
Dud: just a few annoying corked bottles.
Thing: Spinal Tap at Wembley
Comment: The Wolf Blass was a lovely surprise when I opened my first bottle in 2004, and I have been following its progress against the Grange of the same year. This year the Wolf Blass had the edge due to greater clarity, freshness and definition. I had a chance to try it in a vertical earlier this year, and there is something special about the 1998. It deserved its Jimmy Watson trophy!
TOM: Fine, globe-trotting selection. That Sainsbury's Amontillado is indeed excellent and a steal - made by Lustau and only £6.50 I believe.

Edward Bolland, UK

Red: Soldera Intistieti (Italy) Brunello di Montalcino 1995
White: Roche-aux-Moines (France) Clos de La Coulée de Serrant Savennieres 1986
Budget red: Château de Tiregand (France) AC Pécharmant, Comtesse de Saint-Exupèry 2005
Budget white: Guy Roulot Bourgogne Blanc (France) Burgundy 2007
Sweet: Chateau Yquem (France) Sauternes 1967
Sparkling: Salon (France) Champagne 1990
Dud: POXED Chardonnay
Thing: My new summer house to give solace when the children are being too lively!
Comment: The Yquem and Salon were opened for a dinner at home with good friends. The occasion certainly made the wines memorable. The Coulée de Serrant was an absolute revelation, bought on a whim on a certain internet auction site. The Soldera was magnificent, but did not have much competition as I have not opened many grand bottles this year, and the Roulot BB was also a default winner in the budget white category as it was one of the few decent affordable whites that I enjoyed during the year.
TOM: Another, focuse, francophile list with some fascinating wines. I deeply regret not splashing out on a bottle of that '67 Yquem many years ago when it was very expensive: now it is hideously so, yet every review I read says it is a great wine. Love the idea of the summer house retreat too!

selection below added 12/01/2010

Richard W. H. Bray, UK and USA

Red: Musigny Grand Cru, JF Mugnier (France) 1999
White: Pieropan La Rocca (Italy) Soave 2002
Budget red: Punta Final (Argentina) Malbec 2008
Budget white: Mas Cristine (France) Ctes du Roussillon Blanc 2008
Rosé: Consolation (France) Barrique Mouvedre Rosé 2008
Sweet: Chateau Suduiraut (France) Sauternes 1967
Sparkling: Mot & Chandon (France) Esprit du Siècle
Fortified: Martinez (Portugal) Vintage 1927
Dud: Chateau du Caillau (France) Cahors 2007
Thing: Getting a cat. Very un-wine-geeky, I know, but he's a cool cat.
Comment: It was an interesting year for wine tasting. The Musigny was sinfully good, though had some stiff competition this year. I was surprised going over my notes from the last year how few quality whites I'd drunk. The La Rocca was a birthday present and totally blew me away (and '02 not the best vintage). Will be laying down some '06. Malbec has been hyped this year, but this one really delivers. A bit gooey, but still cracking value. The Budget White & Rosé are both kind of cheating as I helped make them. But hey, they're brilliant wines. The Suduiraut - no two sips were the same. Wow. Sparkling was difficult this year and yet at the same time a no-brainer. The Esprit du Siècle beat back Krug Clos du Ambonnay, Mot '61, '59 & '76 and Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston '82. I couldn't even write a note for it - sublime. '09 was a bubbly year for me, I guess. The port took 3 hours to open and was worth the wait in every way. I was truly annoyed by the Cahors. I wanted backward, dark, grippy stuff and all I got was latex and reductive rubbish. Most disappointing. 2010 is a bit of a mystery - new job (yet to be determined), new writing projects, new wines, more wine-making etc... Never have I had so little clue about what's going to happen next. Looking forward to it though.
TOM: Nice list here. Richard, Sommelier at the Seafood restaurant in St Andrews (at least he was last time I met up with him!) has chosen a wine made by a mutual friend of ours, Andy Cook, in the Roussillon as his pink. Richard and Andy once brought joy to the citizens of St Andrews when they ran Luvians wine merchant with great style. And awarding a moggy your 'thing' of the year is quite acceptable.

Ben Coffman, UK

Red: Chateau de Pibarnon (France) Bandol 1990
White: JM Boillot (France) Puligny Montrachet 2007
Budget red: Coudoulet de Beaucastel (France) Cotes du Rhone 2006
Budget white: Domaine Michel (France) Viré-Clessé 2005
Rosé: Vilmart (France) Rubis Champagne 2002
Sweet: Château de Monbazillac (France) Monbazillac 1976
Sparkling: Salon (France) Champagne 1995
Fortified: none - I've gone off them
Dud: Ingluorious Basterds, Tarantino's dreadful film
Thing: Me
Comment: The winning themes seemed to be focus and balance. All the contenders had it. Quite a challenge for the top two. 1994 Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz was stunning too (as was the 1978 Angerville and 1986 Clape Cornas), but the balance and character of the Bandol came through. My discovery of the Rieslings of Donhoff threatened the thrilling precision of Boillot's white Burgundy. My budget wines stretched it a little as I got them in sales but both are reliable and repeat puchases. The Champagnes were really rather good. I might get to like that stuff, though I do balk at the prices...
TOM: Yes, Donnhoff's wines are just fantastic I can see the similarities with the Boillot Puligny, albeit wines of totally different fundamental characters. Otherwise a model Francophile list. And what about your 'thing' Ben? Have you been on some Californian guru's self belief course? :-)

Craig Dennis, UK

Red: Peter Lehmann (Australia) Stonewell Shiraz 1996
White: Kumeu River (New Zealand) Mates Vineyard Chardonnay 2004
Budget red: Louis Jadot (France, Burgundy) Cote de Beaune 1976
Budget white: Vasse Felix (Australia) Chardonnay 2008
Rosé: Turkey Flat (Australia) 2008
Sweet: Verlich (Austria) Seewinkel Beerenauslese 2001
Sparkling: Billecart-Salmon (France) Blanc De Blanc 1998
Fortified: Niepoort (Portugal) 1997 Vintage
Dud: Nothing Desperate
Thing: Wimps Lunches / Ledbury
Comment: A really great year of trying wines from all over the place with a strong focus in tasting and drinking on Old World wines however in look back the standout wines for me were all pretty much New World. A complete revelation however for the year has been the Wimps lunches at the Ledbury. Amazing wines matched with superlative food and strange people as obsessed as I am. What a find.
TOM: Wimps (and Twerps) are two informal and welcoming tasting / dining groups that have become fairly regular fixtures and are spin-offs from the regular 'off-lines' from members of my UK Wine Forum. I have to say the number of nominations for these offlines and groups that have formed through the forum brings a tear of paternal joy to the old eye :-). Fine choices - the Kumeu River is a stand-out New Zealand Chardonnay I must say.

Nayan Gowda, UK

Red: Stonyridge (Waiheke Island, NZ) Larose 1994
White: Greywacke (Marlborough, NZ) Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Budget red: Villa Maria (Hawkes Bay, NZ) Cab Merlot Private Bin 2006
Budget white: Bladen (Marlborough, NZ) Gewurztraminer 2008
Sweet: Framingham (Marlborough, NZ) Noble Gewurztraminer 2007
Sparkling: Clos de Goisses (Champagne, France) 1996
Comment: The preponderance of Kiwi wines is a reflection of the 8 months I spent working there. The Stonyridge Larose was part of a vertical back to 1989; while all fabulous wines, this one stood out as being the most complete on the day.
TOM: Some terrific NZ wines in here. Framingham don't seem to put a foot wrong: their Rieslings are brilliant and have made their reputation to some extent, but their Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurz are favourites of mine too. I've been lucky enought to drink a few vintages of Larose, and it is undoubtedly a world class Bordeaux-style wine - still quite rare in NZ.

Andrew Paddock, UK

Red: Chateau Lagrange (France) St Julien 1996
Budget red: De Bortoli Gulf Station Pinot Noir 2008
Budget white: Waitrose Chablis (France) 2007
Sweet: Chateau La tour Blanche (France) 2003
Sparkling: Pol Roger 1996
Fortified: Domaine Rombeau Rivesaltes (France) 1950
Dud: Clos du Marquis (France) 2003
Comment: The Lagrange just pipped Ducru Beaucaillou 1999, both were elegant,with the finesse I expect from claret. The Lagrange benefitted comimg from a better vintage. The gulf station is simply the best new world Pinot noir i have had. The Pol Roger was as expected wonderful with I suspect a few good years ahead of it. The Rivesaltes which I believe is made from Grenache was not what I expected, because the nose and palate was just like a very old tawny Port. The Clos du Marquis I suspect has suffered from the heat, as it had no length, no tannin and a questionable future. If this is typical of 03 clarets then it is a vintage to avoid.
TOM: I think De Bortoli's Pinots are actually some of the best value on the planet I must say. Andrew's choice - the Gulf Station - is the same as mine this year, but the Windy Peak and Tesco Finest (made by de Bortoli) are cracking bottles.

Joe Fisher, UK

Red: Marqués de Murrieta (Spain) Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial 1978
White: Jean-Marc Pillot (France) Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets 2006
Budget red: Hochar (Lebanon) Bekaa Valley Pere et Fils 2003
Budget white: Errazuriz (Chile) Casablanca Valley Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2007
Sweet: Domaine de Montesquiou (France) Jurançon Grappe d'Or 2004
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Champagne Brut en Magnum 1996
Thing: TWERPS offlines
Comment: 2009 was the year I ended my love affair with my WSET Advanced course and moved onto offlines, namely TWERPS - all thanks to Tom Cannavan & his forum! I'm still learning ever so much at great speed, and thanks to the forum and these offlines I've managed to broaden my knowledge and taste some really interesting wines in the process, not to mention meet some most exemplary company. The Ygay was about my most enjoyable wine of the year, though had I tasted the 1955 Berberana at The Sampler in 2009 then it would most certainly top the reds list - but for now it stays top for 2010! The Pillot was my first experience of a really delicious white burg, that wasn't premoxed, or overpriced so its out of my reach - just worked wonderful in the company it was served. The Hochar has to be the best qpr red I've come across, Musar in style yes, but not quite so fierce! The Errarzuriz offers exceptional value for money (under £10!) as does the Jurancon which comes in 75cl bottles! The Pol served for a birthday was sumptuous, and remains my favourite champagne house. That and Alfred Gratien! Thanks Tom for the site and forumm, where would we be without it!
TOM: The Errazuriz Chardonnay so nearly scooped budget white in my list too: The Wine Gang named it their budget white of the year and I declared it my best wine of the series on my TV slot just before Christmas. Jurançon still turns up real treasures, dry and sweet.

selection below added 08/01/2010

Phil Wilkins, UK

Red: Moss Wood (Australia) Cabernet Sauvignon 1976
White: Emmerich Knoll (Austria) Gruner Veltliner Loibner Smaragd Vinothekfullung 2001
Budget red: Chateau de Beaucastel (France) Cotes du Rhone Coudoulet de Beaucastel 1989
Budget white: Klein Constantia (South Africa) Riesling 2006
Sweet: Huet (France) Cuvee Constance 1989
Sparkling: Vilmart (France) Coeur de Cuvee 1990
Fortified: Taylor (Portugal) Vintage Port 1963
Dud: Kumeu River (New Zealand) Village Pinot Noir 2006
Thing: The kids still!
Comment: This year I've gone for the most memorable over the rarest, most expensive & best vintages. Certainly there perhaps could have been 'better' wines, but hey! The 1976 Moss Wood was all encompassing given its apparent poor condition but what a stunning wine when opened. Many also came from the generosity of the UK Forum 'WIMPs' lunches but as usual great drinking overall, even the fizz!
TOM: I visited Margaret River in Western Australia (source of Phil's Red Wine of the Year) just a couple of months ago and was lucky enough to taste a couple of the
rare bottles from the 70s too: basically the region only started producing wines in the early 70s, so this is a real slice of history from Phil.

Dave Emery, Australia

Red: Nicolas Potel (France) Santenay 1978
White: Shaw and Smith (Australia) M3 Chardonnay 2006
Budget red: Cosme Palacio (Spain) Rioja 2005
Budget white: Richmond Grove (Australia) Watervale Riesling 2003
Sweet: Chateau D'Yquem (France) Sauternes 1996
Sparkling: Gosset (France) Grande Rose NV
Fortified: Lustau (Spain) San Emilio Pedro Ximenez NV
Dud: Dodgy corks!
Thing: My new bike
Comment: The Potel was (slightly belatedly) drunk to celebrate my brother's 30th and was a real treat. The M3 Chardonnay is one of the best going around in Oz, and the Cosme Palacio has been a very reliable quaffer. The Richmond Grove was very cheap when bought and gave tremendous pleasure (I think riesling nearly always gets the vote from me in this category). The Yquem was thoroughly memorable - such a long finish, while the Gosset was drunk with friends at another highlight - a dinner at Tetsuya's! PX rocks, as does my new bike - an Argon 18 Krypton 36, getting set for the Tour Down Under in Adelaide in 2 weeks.
TOM: Cork coming up strong as the overall 'dud' vote of the year, despite improvements made by the cork industry. Lovely diversity of wine styles, ages and provenance in Dave's list - and good luck in Adelaide - avoid the cellar doors whilst cycling!

Jeremy Wilkinson, UK

Red: Penfold's (Australia) Bin 60 A 1962
White: Gravner (Italy) Breg 1999
Sweet: Massandra Collection Rose Muscat (Crimea) 1939
Sparkling: Dom Perignon (France) Champagne 1996
Fortified: D'Olivera (Madeira) Boal 1908
Dud: So many bottles of oxidised White Burgundy
Thing: The terrace at Vescovino in Panzano with the sun setting in July
Comment: A vintage year, and some very late replacements in that my red, white, sweet and sparkling wines were all from December. The red of the year is probably my red of the decade! The Breg was a revelation for me, the first time I really got it - I have had several other vintages but probably all without sufficient maturity. The Massandra wine had the longest finish I have ever experienced.
TOM: Another slice of Australian history with the 1962 Bin 60A, and nice to see a vote for the extraordinary white wines of Gravener, another favourite of mine. Oh dear, white Burgundy gets another dud vote...

Leon Stolarski, UK

Red: CVNE (Spain) Vina Real Gran Reserva Rioja 1981
White: Roche-aux-Moines (France) Clos de La Coulée de Serrant Savennieres 1986
Budget red: Luis Pato (Portugal) Joao Pato Vino de Mesa Tinto 1990
Budget white: Ferré i Catasús (Spain) 'M' Xarel-Lo Penedes 2004
Rosé: Dario Princic (Italy) Pinot Grigio Blush/Rosé 2006
Sweet: Domaine des Baumard (France) Clos de Sainte Catherine Coteaux du Layon 2007
Sparkling: Piper-Heidsieck (France) Brut Divin Blanc de Blancs Champagne NV
Fortified: Domaine Pietri-Geraud (France) Cuvée Méditerranée Banyuls 2003
Dud: Bordeaux and Australia
Thing: Music
Comment: The Vina Real was as close to perfect as can be. In terms of sheer interest and pleasant surprise (and almost in terms of quality) it was run very close by a Santa Rita Medalla Real Cabernet Sauvignon 1985, Maipo Valley - yes, a Chilean Cabernet for goodness' sake! Why can't Chile (or Australia, for that matter) make such subtle wines anymore? The Coulée was (is) a stunner. I picked it up for a song, sold some and kept a case back for my own enjoyment - effectively drinking it for free. The Pato has effectively become my "house" red, since a certain auction house has been selling it off in tranches for at least 2 years - and the supply shows no signs of to be drying-up. I'm down to my last case-and-a-half, though, so I'd better get some more. But who else drinks 20 year-old house wine?! The Xarel-Lo was another pleasant surprise (and, I guess, another curiosity). At around 4 quid a bottle (from a secret local "source") it was a serious bargain. The Dario Princic "rose" is of course from a white (or grey) grape, so must be left on its skins for ages. It is a weird, whacky example of natural winemaking at its most extreme. A more conventional choice would be Chateau Pradeaux Rosé 2008 - but I would say that(!) The Clos de Sainte Catherine 2007 may just be the greatest sweet white wine I have ever tasted - and I have tasted a great many. It is simply sensational (and probably my overall wine of the year). The Piper-Hiedsieck was simple a very pleasant surprise. I am no great officianado (or lover) of Champagne, but with some decent bottle age (again, a bit of a bargain from my "local" source) it really did punch above its weight and was absolutely delicious. I have to declare an interest with the Pietri-Geraud. I am no great lover of Port (generally too spiritous for my liking) but great Banyuls is another matter. Enough said! Sorry to offend all the Bordeaux lovers out there, but my opinion of the region's wines just gets more, erm.... "opinionated" by the year. Over the years, I may well have tasted the majority of classed growths (except the firsts) but I can honestly say that I haven't tasted one this year that made me think "Wow!". Emperor's New Clothes, I'm afraid. Sorry to tar a whole country (let alone a single region) with the same brush, but what has happened to Australia? Have the wines changed *that* much, or have I just moved on? Admittedly, I've tasted a few crackers, this year, but mostly older wines, from the more traditional growers, but most of the new stuff leaves me cold. As for my "thing", well there are so many "things" that it was a really tough choice. But I guess that music is one of the things that has been precious to me throughout my life and, indeed, has provided the "soundtrack" to my life. And as long as I continue to discover great artists and bands (some of them new, many not so new) then I'll be happy. That said, I'll be even happier if I can ever begin to master my lovely Fender Telecaster! Other "things" that also deserve a mention include wine tastings, courtesy of the 51-week-a-year Nottingham Wine Circle and the brilliant (and, I guess, wine-pages spin-off) "last Tuesday in each month" gathering at a local restaurant. One way or another, I must get to taste around 2,000 wines a year (4 of my choices above included) in the company of some very fine and generous people, many of whom I now count as close friends. Another "thing" is marriage - Diane and I are now into our 25th year (BIG party coming in September!) and still going strong - not to be sniffed at, in this day and age. Of course, another constant "thing" is Languedoc and Roussillon - not just the wines, but the whole package. For me, there is no better place on earth to spend qome quality time, and I have so many wonderful memories. It also finally provided me (via my wine business) with something to really focus on, perhaps for the very first time in my life. Shame I was into my 40's before I found it! Still, better late than never. All I need to do now is learn how to make money from it! Happy New Year!
TOM: My pride and joy is my shiny new Fender Stratocaster, the almost identical model to one I owned in my 'yoof', so I guess Leon and I are going through the same mid-life crisis :)

Ian Massie, UK

Red: Ch la Mission Haut Brion 1996
White: Chassagne Montrachet les Chenevottes Marc Morey 2005
Budget red: Bourgogne Robert Chevillon 2005
Budget white: Zondernaam Sauvignon Blanc [South Africa] 2008
Rosé: Billecart Salmon NV
Sweet: Ch la Tour Blanche 1989
Sparkling: Pierre Moncuit 1995 en Magnum
Dud: Ch Grand Puy Lacoste 1985
Thing: ice-hockey on a sunday evening with my daughter at Murrayfield ice rink
Comment: visiting the vineyards in Stellenbosch in July 2009 with my wife driving and me tasting was unforgettable - Blauklippen, Spier, Kleine Zalze and others were amazingly friendly.
TOM: La Mission Haut-Brion must be in the running for the most votes in the Best red category this year I suspect - I think we've had five or six nominations now. The Zondernaam I haven't tasted for a while but it was a real favourite - the "wine with no name" because it is 'de-classified' wine from a new, money no object estate called Tokara.

Alexandra Robak, France

Red: Voyager (Australia) Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 1998
White: Larrivet Haut Brion (France) Graves 2002
Budget red: Vignamato (Italy) Marche Rosso 2006
Budget white: Olivier Merlin (France) Macon La Roche Vineuse Vielles Vignes 2005/6
Rosé: Varnier Fanniere (France) Rose Brut Champagne
Sweet: Mount Horrocks (Australia) Clare Valley Cordon Cut Riesling 2003
Sparkling: Krug (France) Grande Cuvee Champagne
Thing: Discovering some great value reds & whites from Le Marche and loading up the boot of the car with them.
Comment: I had the Voyager last week, so it's fresh in my mind. It also stands out for me because I mostly drink French these days (a consequence of my location). Nevertheless it's a delicious wine, drinking beautifully now.
TOM: Fine choices, and a fair spread of countries for someone based in France where the choice is often very localised. I visited Voyager a couple of months back and they are still making some fantastic wines - and great to see yet another sensible person choosing the same sweetie as me: the Mount Horrocks really is terrific stuff.

selection below added 07/01/2010

Stephen Locke, UK

Red: Glaetzer (Australia) Amon Ra Shiraz 2003
White: Domaine Gauby (France) Vieilles Vignes 2002
Budget red: Bodegas Borsao (Spain) Garnacha Tres Picos 2006
Budget white: Marqués de Riscal (Spain)Verdejo Rueda 2008
Sweet: Château d'Yquem(France) 1998
Sparkling: Gosset (France) Champagne Brut Excellence N.V.
Fortified: Emilio Lustau (Spain) East India Solera N.V.
Dud: Domaine de la Solitude (France) Blanc 2006
Thing: Purdey brushes (for DIY decorators - worth every penny!)
Comment: I found this difficult to complete. I've settled on the 'stand out' wines. There may have been some that were 'better' but they didn't make the impact that the above wines did. Going through my records I realise I drink more white, but buy more red - something I must address (changing either drinking or buying!). The Gosset champagne was the biggest discovery of the year for me.
TOM: Nice list here - good to see Ben Glaetzer's very fine Amon-Ra get a vote, and that's at least the second nomination for a wine from Borsao in Spain. It's a long time since I did any DIY I confess, but I do remember the joys of discovering why really good quality paint brushes are well worth their considerable price!

Jonathan Beagle, UK

Red: Chateau Petrus (France) Pomerol 1978
White: Chevalier- Montrachet; (France) Dom. Leflaive 1993
Budget red: Artazuri Tinto (Spain) Navarra, Artadi 2008
Budget white: Cerrusol Rueda (Spain) Rueda 2008
Rosé: Domaine Gavoty (France) Provence 2008
Sweet: Chateau d'Yquem (France) Sauternes 1976
Sparkling: Champagne Joseph Perrier (France) Cuvee Josephine 2002
Fortified: Fonseca Vintage Port (Portugal) 1985
Dud: Lots of cork taint (unfortunately; nothing undrinkable)
Thing: Discovering the Ledbury
Comment: Its been a good year, with many wines usurping others, and the privelege of tasting them with many great like-minded people has been a lot of fun. The year has been a good one viniously for me and I hope it was for others; here's to a Great 2010!!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
TOM: Classy line-up here. That's the second vote for one of Rioja producer Artadi's wines from his Navarra outpost, and Yquem seems to be making a very strong showing this year - understandbale of course, but there is a real variety of vintages being covered too. Oh dear, I just saw the entry below!

Matthew Bryan, UK

Red: Trapiche (Argentina) Victorio Coletto Malbec 2004
White: Au Bon Climat (USA) Bien Nacido Chardonnay 2006
Budget red: Clos d'Yvigne (France) Le Rouge et Le Noir 2005
Budget white: Saint Clair (New Zealand) Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2008
Rosé: Gentilini (Cephalonia, Greece) Rose 2008
Sweet: Brumont (France) Brumaire Pacherenc du Vic Bilh 2005
Sparkling: Pierson Whitaker (France) Premier Cru Reserve NV
Fortified: d'Arenberg (Australia) Fortified Shiraz 2005
Dud: Chateau d'Yquem (France) 1999
Thing: try before you buy wine
Comment: No trophy wines here, but each one an unexpected coup de coeur and brilliant qpr. The Summertown Wine Cafe has been a revelation for me and I'm looking forward to visiting The Sampler. Definitely a year of finding more pleasure and satisfaction when moving away from Bordeaux and Burgundy.
TOM: Couldn't agree more with Matthew on the Single Vineyard Malbec from Trapiche - if you see these, try them. Ive tasted several of them (small productions that change each vintage, from ancient vineyards) and all have been fantastic. Another vote for one of Brumont's excellent and inexpensive sweet wines, but then we have Yquem as the 'dud'. I've tasted Yquem from off years before (I remember the 1991 being unimpressive) and I guess there's a value for money factor in Matthew's choice.

Mark Carrington, UK

Red: Alion '01
White: Trimbach Clos Ste. Hune vendanges tardives '89
Budget red: Le Vin de Amis, Clape 2007
Budget white: Jacob's Creek Steingarten (Riesling) '05
Rosé: Bandol Dom. La Suffrene
Sweet: Jurançon Les Jardins de Babylone Didier Dagueneau 2004
Fortified: Graham '70
Dud: Beyer Sylvaner ( '07?)
Thing: The Wire
Comment: Alion receives the vote for shining on two occasions. CSH my WotY. This was most strongly contested section this year. Other worthy nominees Silex Dagueneau '05, Criots-Bâtard Montrachet Belland '02 (& could've qualified for bargain category), Trimbach CSH '00, Leeuwin Chardonnay '01. The Clape is attractively rustic. Been buying the Steingarten over a number of years. At it's original price it was a bargain but a certain supermarket effectively was giving it away this year. About a week before drinking La Suffrene I dismissed all Bandol Rosé. This particular wine was recommended. My mistake..... Dagueneau's Jurançon confirmed he was a genius. RIP. IIRC, Graham's 70 has 'won' previously. I expect it to do so again. The thing was going to be my iPhone, then sitting with Travis W & his dad at Edgbaston on the Friday for the 1st two deliveries of the morning, but, with Mrs C watched the series, immediately purchased the DVDs & rewatched the whole shebang.
TOM: Alion (from Vega-Sicilia) is pretty stunning stuff I must say - and relatively inexpensive too. Mark's choice of 'The Wire' as his thing makes me think immediately of Clarke Peters, one of the stars of the series, when he
tasted wine with me on TV a couple of months back - one of the nicest of the 'celebs' that I've met so far.

Mark Henderson, New Zealand

Red: Ceretto (Italy) Bricco Roche Barolo Brunate 1990
White: Champalou (France) Vouvray Cuvee Fondraux 2008
Budget red: Nugan Estate (Australia) Third Generation Shiraz 2008
Budget white: Melnes (NZ) Waipara Riesling 2007
Rosé: Rose of Tralee (NZ) 2008
Sweet: Domaine des Baumard (France) Quarts de Chaume 2007
Sparkling: Veuve Clicquot (France) Vintage 2002
Fortified: Lustau (Spain) P.X San Emilio
Dud: Corks
Thing: The Loire Valley
Comment: 2009 does seem to have been a year of wonderful reds for me as I had a great deal of difficulty choosing just the one red from a number of excellent possibilities - the Barolo in the end was not only fabulous on the night but looked to have great potential yet for the cellar. I was tempted just to write German Riesling in the white box as these wines have given me great pleasure this year across the vintages and pradikat levels, but the Champalou knocked my socks off and I look forward to this vintage arriving in NZ. The Rose of Tralee is made by Alan Brady (founder of Gibbston Valley Wines and then Mt Edward) and is somewhat of a retirement project for Alan along with a couple of Pinot Noirs. The sweet wine choice was also difficult this year with a couple of friends sharing a number of lovely wines with me but that Baumard was simply a cut above. After a 25 year gap, a return to France this year with a wonderful week spent in the Loire exploring the wines, the history and the culture
TOM: A few names that are unfamilar to me here, but I do remember having dinner with Alan Brady in Central Otago a few years ago, so nice to hear an update on what he is doing - and doing well apparantly. 2002 is surely destined to go down as one of the great Champagne vintages - I'm still quietly stocking up when I come across good buys.

Ian Black, UK

Red: Ch. Cheval Blanc, St. Emilion, 1959
White: Jean Boillot Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1996
Budget red: Domaine la Croix Belle (France Languedoc), Le Champ du Coq 2006
Budget white: Eric Laguerre (France Roussillon), La Ciste, 2003
Rosé: Morel Pere et Fils (France, les Riceys) Rosé des Riceys 2004
Sweet: Domaine de la Rectorie (France, Banyuls), Cuvée Elisabeth
Sparkling: Drappier Champagne Carte d'Or NV (from Jeroboam)
Fortified: An unidentified colheita port from ca. 1870
Dud: Assorted corked horrors (may they rot in hell)
Thing: Tom Cannavan
Comment: The Drappier bubbly is their standard wine, but unusually they mature and disgorge in the end bottle - it knocked spots off many more prestigious champagnes tried this year. The port came from an old Scottish cellar, with only partial records - a remarkably pungent drop, still showing some sweetness. Sorry about the "thing" category, Tom, but I did want to pay tribute to how much I enjoy your website and all that it offers!
TOM: Well, let's get that choice of 'Thing' out of the way first: what a nice sentiment Ian, thank you so much for the award! The old Colheita is nother 19th century wine - must be about the fourth so far this year which is extraordinary. Another vote for cork as dud too (in the running for this year's title with white Burgundy!). I really enjoyed 'La Ciste' from Eric Laguerre in the past, so nice to see it get a shout.

Phil David, UK

Red: Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1983
White: Chateau de Beaucastel Roussanne Vielles Vignes 2003
Budget red: Terradora Il Principio Aglianico dell' Irpininia 2000
Budget white: Andre Dezat Domaine Thibault Pouilly Fume 2006
Sweet: Chateau Climens 1997
Sparkling: Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne Les Ursules NV
Fortified: D'oliveiras Madeira Malvazia Colheita 1987
Dud: Delas Freres Cote Rotie Seigneur De Maugiron 1997
Thing: UK Wine Forum Offlines
Comment: 2009 was a big learning curve for me and offlines - mostly at The Ledbury - were largely if not wholly responsible. Having access to such wonderful selections of wines and the opportunity to taste and discuss them with other obsessives is truly rewarding - and convivial to boot. Offlines yielded several of my wines of the year: La Chapelle 83, which shaded several Chaves among others; the utterly beguiling Beaucastel Roussanne, the Climens 97 (which opened my palate to sweet wines) and the obscure Bouchard Champagne, picked for the way it developed in the glass but only a whisker ahead of a Bollinger GA 1996, Ruinart Rose NV and Larmandier-Bernier Terre de Vertus. The Terradora is an excellent example of how good Campanian Aglianico can be at half the price of a known Taurasi, while the expressive Thibault Pouilly Fume is a reliable and regular drinker in my household. Sadly the 06 doesn't seem available now. Finally, the Delas Cote Rotie is a great warning of what auction purchases can bring. We're still waiting to see if the rest of the bottle will mature into a usable vinegar. It had a good start, that's for sure.
TOM: Nice, focused Rhône- and European wine-lovers list here. Aglianico definitely a grape to watch I think, and good to see the 'Ledbury offlines' (spin-offs from the UK Wine Forum) getting yet more praise. What a success those are.

Arnaud Alborghetti, France

Red: Humbert Frères (France) Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Estournelles-St.-Jacques 2001
White: Didier Dagueneau (France) Pouilly-Fumé Pur Sang 2000
Budget red: Fred Magnien (France) Cote de Nuits Villages 2006
Budget white: Cordier (France) Macon Charnay 2007
Rosé: Ivo Varbanov (Bulgaria) Rosé 2007
Sweet: M-Th. Chappaz (Switzerland) grain noble Marsanne 2006
Sparkling: Dom Pérignon (France) Champagne 1999
Fortified: Quinta Do Vesuvio (Portugal) Vintage Port 1992
Dud: Lavinia (Paris)
Thing: My local Carrefour supermarket !
Comment: Mainly Champagne/Loire/Burgundy in 2009 like lots of us but not only by choice. Relocation to Belgium then France after half a decade in London has been difficult when it comes to wine: Poor selection of new world wine with usually inflated prices and virtually no BYO places (except in Brussel But on the bright side I discovered some exciting "vins natures" from people like Mosse(Loire) or Souhaut(Ardèche). I also had a surprisingly lively and competent bottle of Doudet-Naudin NSG les cras 1969, and found lots of hugely discounted classic french wines at the local supermarket including my 2 Budget wines plus great value Bordeaux like Larmande St Emilion 2001 9.99€, Pomerol Beauregard 2005 9,99€, Pauillac d'Armaillac 2005 15,99€. Do they actually make money on those? Anyway I am glad I did not buy any en Primeur years ago!
TOM: Fitting that the late Didier Danuenau picks up another vote (though he always did well in the WotY geature historically) and to see another Swiss wine get a vote; they are expensive, but can be extremely good. I agree on Lavinia too: fantatic Paris wine shop that I visit whenever I am in the city, including lunch in their wine bar.

Alan March, UK

Red: La Lagune (France) Haut Medoc 1990
White: Mas Jullien (France) Coteaux du Languedoc 2006
Budget red: Cave de Roquebrun (Fra) Les Fiefs d' Aupenac 2006
Budget white: Settesoli (Italy) Mandrarossa Fiano, 2008
Sweet: Clos Fontindoule (France) Monbazillac 1989
Sparkling: Louis Roederer (France) Grand Siecle 1990
Fortified: Mas Blanc (France) Banyuls Rimage 2006
Dud: Cloudy Bay (NZ) Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Thing: 50th birthday at Bouchon, Hexham
Comment: The Lagune was our Christmas Day lunch wine and was a show stopper, just a reminder of how good Bordeaux can be. The summer in Languedoc Roussillon opened my eyes to the joys of that region in every sense including its wines highlighted by a memorable meal at Le Mimosa with the Mas Jullien a feature. The holiday also brought the Banyuls and a long list of properties to visit next year. The Fontindoule was a purchase many years ago from the property, produced literally in a garage, superb stuff. Apart from the summer my 50th was a highlight, though on crutches from a ruptured Achilles, Bouchon (winner of a Ramsay F word trophy) hosted a splendid evening.
TOM: Nice to see Alan's holiday in the Languedoc so obviously inspire him wine-wise. Another vote for the Madrarossa Fiano too - certainly one of the best value whites around at the moment in my opinion.

Ian Sutton, UK

Red: Guigal Hermitage 1983
White: Blain-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets 2002
Budget red: Ch Lamartine Cahors 2000
Budget white: JC Steingarten Riesling 2005
Sweet: Voyat Chambave Passito 1986
Sparkling: Primo Joseph Sparkling Red NV ~ 2004 release
Fortified: De Bortoli Black Noble NV
Dud: Maso Cervara Teroldego Rotaliano Riserva Superiore 1997
Comment: The Guigal a late winner of the red gong, which may have otherwise gone to the savoury black-fruited Lamartine Cahors. The Primo showed much more complexity than any sparkling red I've tasted. The dud was sadly a close run thing!
TOM: Is that the fourth or fifth vote for the Steingarten Riesling this year? Shame the Teroldego was a let down. I've had some really good ones, and some inky and fruitless ones, but I think it is one of those grapes a bit like Aglianico that can make fantastic wines when you get it just right.

Go to Part I

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